Fantasy Football Definition of "Draft"
The fantasy football "draft" is the most important event in the fantasy football season. Fantasy drafts are also the most fun part of the fantasy football season. I've always said that fantasy draft day is a time of infinite possibilities, when you still have the chance of building the perfect 16-0 fantasy football juggernaut. I've also compared fantasy football draft days to Christmas morning for grown men - it's the most excited some of them get all year.
For one, the fantasy draft is a chance for old friends to meet, have trash talk, guy talk, have a beer or two and generally act like kids. For many of us, our local league's fantasy football draft is the only day all year we get to see and hang out with some of our buddies. A local fantasy football draft is part-competition, part-reunion and 100% mental marathon. Particularly if you are in a deep league, a fantasy football draft can be a 5 hour ordeal - but an ordeal you love.
Draft Day Preparation
Preparing for draft day means you have everything you need: fantasy football cheat sheets, a bye week schedule, pens, highlighters, cold drinks, snacks, entry fees and pizza money and probably a football jersey, for good luck. I won my local league four times in a ten-year span wearing an Emmitt Smith jersey, so after a couple of down years without that jersey, I take it out of mothballs every year for that one draft day, hoping it's the key to another league title. Many fantasy football players have similar draft day superstitions.
Draft Day Strategy
If you know beforehand where you're picking in the first round, you should come into your fantasy draft with a draft strategy. This means you have a general idea of who you are drafting in the first round. Know who you are likely to get, then make a list of players you are willing to draft if they "fall to you" in the 1st round. Strange things happen on fantasy football draft day, so be prepared for any draft quirk that happens. At the same time, have a definite strategy if everyone selects players according to your mock drafts or ADP list.
Players who select late in the first round face the largest number of variables, so they need to have considered draft strategies more than anyone. If you have the 12th pick, are you going to select the 10th to 12th best running back? Are you going to grab the next best RB and a wide receiver? Are you going to start a run on another position and draft WR-WR? What about drafting a difference maker like Drew Brees that high?
This is what I'm talking about when I say you need a draft strategy. Keep in mind what your 3rd and 4th round picks are likely to look like when making low-1st and high-2nd round picks. If you think elite receivers will be there when you pick in the 3rd, maybe the two wide receiver strategy doesn't make as much sense. If you have targeted a few lesser-touted running backs that are almost as productive are the guys you could select in the 1st-2nd rounds, then it makes a lot of sense to draft elite receivers and quarterbacks. If not, you probably need to secure a steady runner or two and hope that 2nd-tier receiver can before the difference maker you're looking for at that position - as they often are.
Drafting For Value
Many fantasy football veterans like to fill out a solid starting lineup, barring kickers and defenses, then draft for value after that point. This isn't a bad strategy, if you're looking to build a solid fantasy football roster. Once you have a solid core of players, you can draft the best player available, hoping to take advantage of the perceived mistakes of others. Look at your cheat sheet and see which highly ranked players are surrounded by markouts, and you'll generally know you're getting value with that selection - if your player rankings are solid.
Draft Comes Once a Year
Whatever the case, enjoy your yearly draft, because that's going to be the best day of your fantasy football season. Most fantasy owners will come out of their draft feeling pretty good about their team. Once the fantasy football season starts, several guys will get hurt or fail to live up to expectations, and you can start to build up a healthy hatred for several of them. But on draft day, everything is right with the fantasy football world.